Kim Lewis, PhD

Professor of Biology
Northeastern University
Boston, MA

Developing therapies for Lyme disease

Kim Lewis is a University Distinguished Professor and Director, Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern University in Boston, a Fellow of the American Society of Microbiology, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Moscow University in 1980, and has been on the Faculty of MIT, University of Maryland, and Tufts University prior to coming to Northeastern.

Dr. Lewis has authored over 100 papers and is an inventor on several patents. His notable findings include the development of general methods to grow previously uncultured bacteria that make up >99% of biodiversity on the planet, the discovery of the culprit of recalcitrant biofilm infections, drug-tolerant persister cells; and several novel antibiotics.

Dr. Lewis has been a permanent member of the Drug Discovery and Drug Resistance NIH Study Section, and Chair of two NIH Study Sections on Drug Discovery. Dr. Lewis has served as a panelist and contributor to reports on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by National Academies Institute of Medicine, the Pew Charitable Trust, and the European Academies of Science. Dr. Lewis is a member of Faculty 1000, a world-wide panel of experts evaluating research advancements. He is a recipient of the MIT C.E. Reed Faculty Initiative Award, a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher, and is a recipient of the NIH Director’s Transformative Award.

Apart from his work in Academia, Dr. Lewis has served as a consultant to the Pharmaceutical Industry, The Biotech, and is a co-founder of NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals, Arietis Pharma, Holobiome and Flightpath.

Conference Lecture Summary

Symptoms of Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) are experienced by approximately 10% of patients after antibiotic therapy for an acute B. burgdorferi infection. The underlying causes of PTLDS symptoms have remained unclear. We reasoned that the gut microbiome may play an important role in PTLDS given the overlapping symptoms associated with a dysbiotic microbiome, including mood, cognition, and autoimmune disorders. Using sequencing data from stool of a cohort of PTLDS patients, we identified a gut microbiome signature characterized primarily by high relative abundance of Blautia species and reduction in levels of the symbiotic Bacteroides genus. These findings suggest that Lyme disease should be treated with selective antibiotics that will not harm the microbiome. We find that hygromycin A selectively kills B. burgdorferi and cures the acute disease in a mouse model without affecting the microbiome.

This activity received educational support from:

Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation



And commercial support from:

IGeneX Inc.

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